Economics is often used in literary studies, but rarely free market economics. Austrian economics, with its emphasis on subjective value (Menger), human action (Mises), spontaneous order and knowledge (Hayek), and entrepreneurship (Kirzner), seems a particularly fruitful source of ideas for literary studies.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Individualism vs. Collectivism -- Culture Affects Wealth Creation
Individualist cultures are wealthier than collectivist cultures. Of course, the literary themes within a given culture greatly affect that culture -- and of course the culture affects the themes. Literature that reinforces collectivism is going to thus contribute to economic stagnation, while literature that reinforces individualism is going to contribute to economic growth and the creation of wealth. Of course, as Hayek noted, the kind of individualism also matters. There are kinds of individualism -- solipsistic, radical individualistic individualism -- that give rise to collectivism, meaning the literatures that promote such an individualism will themselves contribute to the creation of a collectivist culture and, thus, to economic stagnation. Anyone want to list literary works that promote radical individualism, social individualism, and collectivism? I would not be surprised if we found geographical patterns.
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